Canada-based Highland Resources has commenced a drilling programme on the Keweenaw Copper Project in northern Michigan, US.

Two drill rigs have been deployed on site in line with the company’s plan to complete 100 diamond drill holes in a bid to confirm the size and grade of the non-compliant 543S historic resource estimate by December 2012.

Following confirmation, resource modelling will begin between January and March, 2013.

The project’s initial drilling will also evaluate several unexplored Chalcocite Belt copper-in-soil anomalies from exploration in the 1970s, as well as broad geophysical studies.

Highland Resources exploration vice president Ross Grunwald said, "This project combines the unusual opportunity to confirm non-compliant historic results on a well-drilled high-grade chalcocite deposit with exploration drilling on numerous incomplete or undrilled deposits that, if successful, provide considerable upside potential in a relatively short period of time in a major mining district that has been largely ignored for the past 35 years."

As per the deal, Highland will earn a 65% interest in the Keweenaw Copper Project on condition that the company provides an independent feasibility study at the end of the earn-in period.

The project covers about 13,000 acres of mineral rights, on which Highland will spend $11.5m on the development and exploration program by 26 October 2015.